That's a good start. But, ironically, the best solution may be one of the oldest. The employee newsletter is one of the most proven methods of keeping employees up-to-date on what is going inside the company, swapping best practices, and educating themselves about new company initiatives. The new Web employee communications vehicles are essentially the old newsletters in a digital form.
But the newsletter was a tool for a time when most employees of a company worked in a handful of large offices and factories. In digital form it can reach a more widespread audience, but it still suffers from the limitations of scope, amateurish writing and poor reporting.
But, what were corporate newsletters originally modeled after? Newspapers, of course. Companies in the early 20th century shrewdly modeled their internal communications on the information distribution format then most popular with their employees.
Today, that medium is the Web. But the amount of information that must be conveyed today to employees to keep them trained, knowledgable about company processes and loyally engaged is far greater than any time in the past. So why settle for a narrow band medium like a company-wide e-mail newsletter, or even for podcasts and crude video?
Why not corporate on-line newspapers, complete with wire service stories, features, editorials (blogs), financial, weather, stock tables and sports? They would tie employees to the company far better than the occasional license plate holder or desk tchotchke. The cost of a newsroom, especially without a printing plant in the back, is miniscule in the age of digital cameras and on-line composition.
Best of all, the best reporters and editors in the world are out there looking for work. We're not talking the intern writing the newsletter story on the company picnic anymore, but a Pulitzer winner doing a four-part feature on trying to live and work at the sales office in Lagos. Top notch photos, stories and writing, delivered every morning to every one of your employees around the world. This would quickly become a company benefit in itself.
With newspaper circulations falling and corporate rolls only growing, there would likely be many company newspapers with circulations bigger than their traditional counterparts -- and with a lot more scope.
As for reporters, would they shy away from reporting from a company-owned publication? Many already are, having jumped to PR. Others will privately admit that newspapers haven't lately been paragons of objective journalism themselves. And, frankly, that would be the challenge: to report fairly and honestly -- or quit.
In the end, the real challenge will be whether senior management, even in the face of evidence that it would be useful, would still resist in-house newspapers with a considerable amount of editorial independence. As we have just seen in the case of Robert Scoble, when it comes to journalism, many companies don't want a good thing even when they see it.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.